Leaf Type: Aged Oolong
Where to Buy: Butiki Teas (However it is no longer for sale)
Tea Description: Our 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong is a 22 year old spring harvested tea from Nantou, Taiwan. This rare tea is oxidized between 20-30% and charcoal roasted. Da Ye Oolong is uncommon today since this tea has a lower production volume. Our 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong is sweeter and creamier than our 2003 Reserve Four Season Oolong. Notes of roasted chestnut, bark, fresh butter, honey suckle, and cinnamon can be detected. Due to the age of this tea, some mineral notes may also be detected. This tea has a silky mouth feel and is sweet and buttery.
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
This isn’t a new Butiki blend (really there aren’t any new Butiki blends anymore since the owner’s retirement and the store closed); but it is new to me. I’ve been curious about it for a long time, but I think that without Butiki closing I would have been stuck in a permanent state of “window shopping”, which is a shame because I definitely would have been missing out.
So, this tea is actually older than I am by four years! There’s something inheritantly fascinating about that, and it’s hard to wrap my head around it. Many reviews I’ve seen for this tea feature the reviewer remarking “where they were” or “what they were doing” back in 1991, but I wasn’t doing anything! My parents weren’t even married in 1991.
Lately I’ve been trying to explore straight oolongs a little more thoroughly so it’s appropriate I’m trying this one. I’ve enjoyed the straight oolong I’ve had, especially the darker/roastier ones, but my exposure has been relatively limited and it’s time to change that. The dry leaf for this one already smells quite different than oolong I’m familiar with; it has a really distinct dill smell to it! And then nuttier notes emerge as well. It’s the dill that gets me though; I’ve never heard of dill being a present flavour notes in a straight oolong before – maybe a green tea though that’s probably a bit of a stretch too. I’m already learning things!
Wow; this is surprisingly more complex than I was expecting. Even upon my first few initial sips I was registering such a large variety of flavours it was almost a little overwhelming; they all tie in quite well to one another though. It seems like the general backdrop of flavours is a combination of soaked/damp wood and moss. Very earthy, and very natural. On top of the general taste, which carries throughout the sip, was a lovely arrangement of roasty and nutty flavours, with a very slight and enjoyable dryness. The combination of all of these things is coming together to remind me of petrichor.
For those who don’t know; petrichor is the smell of rain on dry earth. It’s my absolute favourite smell in the world and I’ve been looking for a tea that accurately conveys it for as long as I can remember; this does the job better than anything else I’ve tried. Lastly, this tea finishes with a sweet dill note that tickles at back of my throat. I’m liking how the dill plays into all of this by adding a bit of a different feeling as well as a unique taste!
My second steep was good too; many of the flavours I observed with the first cup were still there but in different levels. I found the wood flavour was less pronounced as well as the dry nuttiness, but the moss was a little more accentuated. The dill was also a lot more strong; instead of just tasting it in the finish I was tasting it in the body of the sip as well. I also registered a very subtle floral note and some richer mineral notes.
Unfortunately because of a prior commitment in the day I didn’t have time to continue with additional steeps; but I’d love to find a day to dedicate solely to this tea because it’s strange, and wonderful and very complex and I’m so smitten with it!
It’ll be hard to get your hands on this tea now; but if you find yourself with the chance to try it I definitely recommend doing so!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Eco-Cha
This is a newly developed farm in Taiwan’s prime tea growing region. The tea plants are just coming of age at 5 years of growth out of virgin forest soil in an environment that is ideal for High Mountain Oolong cultivation.
Learn more about this tea here.
I was so excited to try more teas from Eco Cha – I have absolutely LOVED all the teas that I’ve tried from them thus far. This is a really top-notch company! The teas that they offer are some of the finest that I’ve tried. And this Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong Tea from Eco Cha is no exception … this is absolutely lovely!
The aroma of the dry leaf is somewhat herbaceous with strong floral tones. The brewed tea has a fragrance that is more delicate, with hints of herb-y vegetation and whispers of flower.
The flavor is positively sublime! I prepared this in my gaiwan, using short steeps. For the first infusion, rather than steeping for 45 seconds, I stopped at 30 seconds just to see how it would be. Then I combined the first and second infusion in one cup (infusion #2 was steeped for 45 seconds), and this cup is fantastic.
I would have expected a very light or delicate flavor, and while it is not what I’d call a strong tasting cup, I would still call it a full-flavored cup. It’s sweet and very creamy. The floral notes dance on the palate. It has a light vegetative note. This cup was so delicious that it disappeared before I knew it!
The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) had a stronger vegetative taste to it, as well as a sharper floral flavor. It wasn’t as creamy as the first. Well … it’s creamy … but, it’s a different creamy. The first cup was a light, fluffy sort of creaminess that I’d call a sweet cream note, whereas this creaminess is more like butter that has been drizzled over freshly steamed veggies.
With most Oolong teas, my favorite cup is the second, but, so far, my first cup was my favorite. I really liked the balance of flavors in that first cup. This cup is still quite tasty, but, I’m missing some of that delectable sweet cream creaminess that was in the first cup.
The third cup (infusions 5 and 6) is a smoother cup than the second, with some of the creaminess still intact and the vegetative and floral tones softening somewhat to create a more seamless taste. The flavors that were very distinct and “individual” in the first two cups are now melding together to present a unified taste for the palate.
This is a very enjoyable Oolong – I highly recommend it to all those who love Oolong!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Steepster Select
A gorgeous Wuyi Oolong with a deep rich liquor, big aroma, and a complex flavor that lasts steep after steep.
Read other Steepster thoughts on this tea here.
Hooray! This month’s Steepster Select box has arrived! Five more amazing teas to sample is always something that will bring a smile to my face.
The aroma of the dry leaf of this Da Hong Pao Red Robe #55 Oolong Tea from Steepster reminds me of the smell of early evening air in autumn here in the Pacific Northwest. You step outside and you can smell the smoke rising out of the chimneys, and it smells rustic: like smoke and wood and the crisp, cool, clean air. I love the smell! It’s not overly smoky which I often find off-putting; it’s a gentle smoke scent.
After a quick 15-second re-awakening of the leaves, I steeped my first two infusions of the leaves and combined them into one cup. One of the other members of Steepster mentioned that this has a burnt hazelnut caramel sort of flavor, and I’d agree with that. There is a deep, nutty flavor to this that I find compelling, and a delightfully sweet caramel-y undertone (think dark, rich caramel!) that is keeping me sipping.
Pleasant smoky notes are in the foreground but they aren’t overpowering. A woody mid-note that plays to that rustic sort of feeling that I usually experience with a Big Red Robe Oolong. A deliciously complex cup. One thing that I’m noticing with this particular Da Hong Pao is that the finish is cleaner. It has an astringency to it that cleanses the palate, so I feel less of a heavy aftertaste. I don’t taste a “coating” of smoke that I sometimes experience from this type of Oolong. Nice!
The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) brought out new flavors to explore. I still enjoyed notes of smoke and wood, however, these tones were softer than they were in the first cup. Now, I’m noticing a sweet-tart fruit-like note in the distance. It isn’t a clear or distinct flavor, but, it’s back there, waiting for me. It is as if it beckons me to brew the third cup to taste more. The nutty tones were a little clearer this time, but there is a little less of a heavy caramelized flavor. Still sweet … but more like a honeyed sweetness rather than caramel.
The third cup (infusions 5 and 6) was incredibly smooth. Similar to the first two cups – I could still taste notes of smoke and wood, and the honeyed note became more distinct while the caramel notes diminished slightly. The fruit note emerged a little this time … tasting a bit like a cross between a nectarine and a plum. Notes of tart, but mostly it’s sweet.
A really enjoyable tea. One of the nicest Red Robe teas I’ve tried.
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Butiki Teas
Our 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong is a 22 year old spring harvested tea from Nantou, Taiwan. This rare tea is oxidized between 20-30% and charcoal roasted. Da Ye Oolong is uncommon today since this tea has a lower production volume. Our 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong is sweeter and creamier than our 2003 Reserve Four Season Oolong. Notes of roasted chestnut, bark, fresh butter, honey suckle, and cinnamon can be detected. Due to the age of this tea, some mineral notes may also be detected. This tea has a silky mouth feel and is sweet and buttery.
Learn more about this tea here.
I haven’t had a lot of experiences with aged Oolong teas, but I have tried a few and I have fallen in love with the depth of flavor that I enjoy with an aged Oolong, and this 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong Tea from Butiki Teas might just be one of the very best that I’ve tried yet.
I prepared this tea the way I typically prepare an Oolong – in my gaiwan! First, I do a quick “rinse” of the leaves by steeping the leaves for 15 seconds in hot water and then straining the tea and discarding it. Then I steeped the first infusion for 45 seconds, and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion.
I combined the first two infusions into one cup for my first cup of this aged Oolong. This first cup I would describe as “raw” in that it had a somewhat earthy taste to it. Notes of wood … but not so much of a charcoal-y note. The chestnut flavor was just starting to develop in this first cup, as was the notes of sweet butter. It was a little lighter in flavor than the subsequent cups, but, it still was really quite enjoyable. I didn’t really notice much of the spice notes that were suggested in the above description, nor any of the floral notes.
My second cup (infusions 3 & 4) was absolutely delightful. I could really taste the roasted chestnut here. It tastes like freshly roasted chestnuts! Notes of wood and butter, with a slight caramel-y undertone that melds in a really unique and delicious way with the charcoal notes which are now really coming through nicely. The aforementioned earthy tones are still there but they have subsided quite a bit, filling out the background rather than standing in the forefront.
The third cup (infusions 5 & 6) was a little lighter than the second, but not quite as light as the first. I still taste the charcoal notes, and some mineral notes are starting to emerge now. I am also tasting the cinnamon notes that the description mentioned. This cinnamon note lingers in the aftertaste. It’s quite interesting! Still nutty, although not quite as distinctly “roasted chestnut.” Also emerging now are more of the floral tones, but they still remain part of the background for the most part, so if you’re one who avoids Oolong teas because you find them too flowery, this one would definitely be more to your liking, I think.
The second cup was definitely my favorite of the three … but the third cup was also really delightful so I do recommend taking this tea through it’s many flavorful infusions to enjoy the most of this tea exploration. I’m really glad I decided to try this tea! What a wonderfully memorable tea it is!